Page Header March Symposium

United Way Symposium Series

Summary Button

March 15, 2016
Topic: Mental Health and Trauma Informed Care - Lessons From Our Community

A victim of trauma – due to violence, neglect, disaster or loss – can be forever changed, especially if that trauma is never addressed. It affects a person’s life, and the lives of those around them. It can spread across generations of families and impact critical systems, including criminal justice, health care and schools. For that reason, it’s important for public, nonprofit and private services to take trauma into account as they serve our vulnerable neighbors – and our community.



Howard Y. Liu, MD

Director, Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Faculty Development Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist
University of Nebraska Medical Center

Howard Liu, MD, is an innovative educator, behavioral health workforce expert, and child psychiatrist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). He serves as the director of the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN); a state funded office charged with the recruitment, retention, and training of mental health providers across Nebraska. He also serves as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Faculty Development at UNMC; overseeing career development programs in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health, dentistry and allied health. Clinically, Dr. Liu has expertise in pediatric mood disorders and maintains a child psychiatry outpatient practice.

Academically, Dr. Liu is interested in the development of innovative programs applying technology and active learning techniques to challenges in health professions education. He led a team of 11 US and Canadian medical schools which created a free national library of online psychiatry modules which has been accessed over 14,000 times in 19 countries. Dr. Liu cochairs the Training & Education Committee for the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and serves as the president of the Nebraska Regional Organization for child psychiatry. He is a recipient of numerous awards including the Outstanding Teacher Award from the UNMC Faculty Senate and the Innovations Award from the Association of Directors of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry (ADMSEP).

Melissa Tibbits, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Health Promotion, Social & Behavioral Health
University of Nebraska Medical Center
College of Public Health

Melissa Tibbits received her PhD in Human Development and Family Studies from Penn State in 2009. She joined the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health in 2009 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Promotion, Social & Behavioral Health. At UNMC she teaches Child & Adolescent Development and Advanced Maternal and Child Health. She also conducts research on substance abuse, sexual health, violence, and obesity, and has collaborated with organizations such as Building Healthy Futures, the Douglas County Health Department, and the Women’s Fund of Omaha to evaluate the effectiveness of their initiatives.

Barbara Jessing, MS, LMFT, LIMHP

Clinical Director of Connections
Project Harmony

Barbara Jessing, a licensed independent mental health practitioner and licensed marriage and family therapist, is Clinical Director of Connections at Project Harmony, a private non profit Child Advocacy Center which focuses on prevention and intervention for child maltreatment. She has specialized in child and family therapy over a career of thirty years, and has a particular interest in issues of young children and families. She is a trainer for the Nebraska Child Parent Psychotherapy Learning Collaborative, and is a founding member and chairperson of the Coalition for Children’s Mental Health in Eastern Nebraska. She teaches part time at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. In addition, she completed the Family Therapy Training Program of the Karl Menninger School of Psychiatry and Mental Health Sciences.


Event Materials

PDF – Event Slides, Presentation

PDF – Trauma Informed Care Overview, Handout

PDF – How to Manage Trauma, Handout

PDF – Adverse Childhood Experiences Pyramid, Handout

PDF – Connections at Project Harmony, Brochure

PDF – Overview of Connections Program, Handout

PDF – Evidence Based Practices at Project Harmony, Handout

PDF - Omaha World-Herald Reprint, "Public health officials urge citywide focus on child trauma"